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The September 27 launch of 'CNN Max' as a free add-on to the Max streaming service arrives more than a year after Warner Bros. Discovery pulled the plug on CNN+, a premium streaming news service.
August 24, 2023
CNN is returning to the world of streaming.
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) on Thursday introduced CNN Max, a live-news service that will be added to the Max streaming platform in the US starting September 27 at no added cost.
CNN Max will be added to all Max service tiers. Max currently offers three tiers: $9.99 with ads, $15.99 without ads with downloads, and $19.99 for a higher-level, ad-free "Ultimate" option that allows for streaming on up to four devices, downloads and access to content in 4K.
WBD, the media giant resulting from the combination of Warner Media and Discovery, said CNN Max is launching next month as part of an "open beta" in the US.
The new offering will feature a seven-day schedule customized for Max subscribers and include new programming specific to the streaming service, including CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta, Rahel Solomon, Amara Walker and Fredericka Whitfield and CNN Newsroom with Jim Sciutto. Jim Scuitto has been tapped to lead breaking news coverage on the platform in the afternoons. CNN Max will also provide a catalog of more than 900 episodes of CNN originals and CNN films.
The intro of CNN Max arrives months after the May 23 launch of Max, a super-sized streaming service that effectively combined HBO Max with Discovery+ and was developed to secure a broader, more diversified audience than those individual streaming services could draw. WBD CEO David Zaslav has hinted that Max would also become a source of live sports and news, so the addition of CNN Max doesn't come as a major surprise.
"I've talked about news and sports as our artillery and a real opportunity for us," Zaslav said on WBD's recent Q2 2023 earnings call. "News and sports are important. They're differentiators. They're compelling. And they make these platforms come alive."
WBD reportedly will introduce a sports tier for Max in line with the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs. Max's plan is to simulcast games from the MLB, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League and the NCAA, according to CNBC.
The addition of CNN Max also enters the picture as CNN looks for ways to boost flagging ratings and soon after it made major changes to its lineup following the departure of embattled CNN chief Chris Licht.
The introduction of CNN Max also comes more than a year after WBD abruptly pulled the plug on CNN+, a premium news streaming service that sold for $5.99 per month.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
Senior Editor, Light Reading
Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.
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